Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Waiting Game Sucks

So when last I ventured onto my blog, we had just successfully survived Son #1's bar mitzvah. The news of my husband's layoff was still fresh, and it seemed like my husband could land another job before the severance period from his old company ran out. Lots of resumes sent out, lots of networking lunches and breakfasts and whatnot (and if there is anything my husband, Mr. Congeniality, does well, it's networking), and even a few interviews. Is there a full-time job on his horizon? No.

What it seems like is going to happen instead is that he is going to be an independent contractor, like many workers in this brave new employment world. One of his many connections (through a cousin who we mainly see at the major Jewish holidays) ended up producing a one-day-a-week gig at a fashion company. The same cousin put him in touch with a company that matches general counsel attorneys with companies who need legal help, but not on a full-time basis, and that has the potential to bring in more work. He may even end up working a couple of days a week for his old company on a contract basis. It's all going to be a major adjustment (not least because we will have to think of his employment more like he's running his own business, with all the attendant headaches of managing quarterly tax payments and obtaining benefits that that will entail), but at least it won't be the kind of adjustment that ends up with our house in foreclosure.
Bet the cats are happy we don't have a dog.

In the meantime, I've been doing more work as well, both proofreading and editing. I was offered a part-time job at Son #3's school starting in the fall, as an assistant in the office. (This, interestingly enough, will be the second time in my life I've moved from volunteer work into an actual job. Ironically, both times meant going from a job that literally pays nothing to a job that virtually pays nothing. But the difference between literally and virtually in this case will help to pay the bills, if only a few of them.) I'm actually pretty excited about it, since I'll be able to do all of the stuff I wasn't allowed to do as a volunteer (which often meant I could only help out with about a third of any given task), my work hours will mean I don't have to worry about child care (or the expenses thereof), and I will be getting regular work experience back on my resume.

So why I have been alternating between freaking out and feeling slightly numb? Probably because I'm not sure I believe any of this is really going to work. His gig with the fashion company is new enough that he hasn't gotten a check yet. And who knows when he will be getting work from the general-counsel company? They're excited to work with him because it is opening up new territory for them, but what that means for us is that they don't have any clients to match him up with in this area yet. And his soon-to-be former employer may decide to stick to their original thought, that a pet lawyer is just too expensive. The only thing we have to show so far for my husband's foray into self-employment is one small check for a trademark application he did and a big bill for the laptop he needed to buy so he would have a dedicated work computer.

I'm trying not to be negative, because he is actually excited about this kind of work. He's much less risk-averse than I am, and I can tell from the snoring that the thought of how we'll pay the bills in a few months, if the income doesn't materialize and our savings melts away, isn't keeping him up. (Not that he should be, really. I worry enough for both of us, and for the kids' sake it's better if we're not both sleep-deprived.)

I'm waiting for the universe to tell me it is going to be all right. Which is a little silly. I don't really believe in the kind of God who answers prayers the way that Santa theoretically answers little kids' wishes. I don't believe that God gives a rat's ass about the outcome of any sports game, no matter how widely televised, and I have a really hard time with the idea that he would choose to save some cancer patients because they have a bunch of folks praying for them while others surrounded by just as many loving, hard-praying people die anyway. Sorry. I simply believe that we are on our own, and jokes about karma aside, I think that who we're born to and what advantages we start out life with is largely a matter of chance. There's no deus ex machina coming to make sure my husband has a paycheck.
Doesn't work this way, either.

However, it does sometimes seem like the universe sends us messages. Like the other day, when I was moping around the house, contemplating our impending lack of regular income, as well as the approaching end of the uncharacteristic spate of freelance work I've had lately. I was feeling rather sorry for myself, I'll admit, dragging around the house feeling overwhelmed by my lack of power to do anything about our situation. Then I got an email from a client who hasn't sent me any projects for a year and a half, due to lack of anything to send me. They had a rush proofreading project to send out; could I take it? Of course I said yes. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but it felt like a message. Something like the universe smacking me in the back of the head and saying, Snap out of it! The best I'm going to get is opportunities--it is up to me to take them. I'm not going to get any guaranteed happy endings, no matter how long I wait. Likewise, I can't expect that I'll be able to see where the path my husband is setting on right now is going to lead. In life you don't get to skip to the last chapter to see how it ends.

So yeah, the waiting game sucks, which is why I need to stop playing it. I need to focus on what I can accomplish today (like my latest editing project) and let tomorrow take care of itself.